module specification

MC4011 - Introduction to Media Culture and Society (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Introduction to Media Culture and Society
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 300
219 hours Guided independent study
81 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Group Presentation 20%   Group presentation including supporting materials
Coursework 30%   Individual Essay
Coursework 50%   Critical Reflective portfolio
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year City Monday Morning

Module summary

In an age of mass communication we are constantly bombarded by messages through advertising, the press, television, film and the internet. Media is a powerful dynamic force and cuts through gender, class, race, creed, and nationality to form bonds between groups of people who may exist in totally different circles, bringing us closer to a global culture. Social & Cultural values are largely shaped and reflected by the consumption of media. This module seeks to provide students with an insight into the media industry and to provide students an introduction to models and tools to enable them to engage in contemporary debate and critically analyse, interpret the factors affecting media channels, production messages, and audiences.

Module aims

The module aims to introduce students to the media industry in relation to the business discipline of marketing and takes a critical examination of the role of culture and society within today’s media industry. It will examine the traditional and the transformation and latest developments in new and on line media. The module will introduced media forms and genres, and an introduction to relevant conceptual frameworks for the analysis of media culture & society.  Additionally the module aims to provide an introduction to the learning strategies students will need to successfully study in Higher education.

The module also aims to assist students in the acquisition  and development of the following skills:

  1. Academic Reading 
  2. Researching
  3. Application of Knowledge and Presenting Data
  4. Communicating/presenting – orally & collaborating / working with others
  5. Critical Thinking and academic Writing
  6. Self- assessment/reflection


  • The media industry – Industry structure, ownership  & integration
  • Environmental factors impacting on the media industry ( Advertising, digital, Public relations , sponsorship)
  • Channels of mass communication -  Media formats -TV, Radio, digital, print, film
  • The communication process Introduction to classic communication models eg. Shannon & weaver 1949 
  • Media users & mass audience - Discovering Mass audiences, audience Measurement Principles, measuring Audience Size, audience Measurement Techniques, measuring audience Reaction, audience Analysis.
  • Media content – Media texts, levels of meaning, Introduction to genre & discourse analysis Media effects – Two step flow, users & gratification, encoding decoding meaning, semiotics signs, signifiers. The role of Perception in communication, theories of persuasion, hypodermic syringe theory, Reception theory , effects theory
  • Cultural perspective  - Audiences as producers of culture, ethnographies of audience fans and users , popular culture
  • Media power & control – Basics in Marxists ideology  political economy & ideology
  • Media Identity & Culture – stereotypical representations, promoting positive images, constructions of feminism and masculinity & beyond gender.
  • Media communities  - Homogenise and  anatomization , fans & identity  sub cultures targeting communities –local, niche magazines  and theories of  on line communities
  • Saturation of media & loss of meaning – Consumerisms, modernism, post modernism celebrity culture & hyper reality, Identity & fragmentation.
  • Communicating in context; notemaking, academic essays, reports, and oral presentations

Learning and teaching

The module will be delivered over a 30 week period and consists of 1.5 hours lectures and 1.5 hours seminar each week.   The weekly lectures will focus on key theories, concepts models and frameworks
For the analysis of contemporary media. 
The seminar sessions will cover discussions, debates, video, cases, questions and answer sessions to build on the contemporary issues covered in the lectures.   The Seminar  serves to anchor knowledge imparted in the lectures and provides a forum for:

  • A better understanding of lectures through small group discussions, case study, video journal article/problem solving analysis and interchange of questions and answers.
  • Assist students in relating their knowledge to the communication profession
  • Applied understanding of technical skills required for carrying out  communications & media research & academic writing
  • Assist in employability skills for future careers in the communications industry. Students will need to consider this aspect of the module as part of their personal development and be able to produce examples in a portfolio

The facilities of Web Learn will be used as part of a blended learning approach and will be central to the delivery of module and weekly material will be loaded & external web links will be used to form the basis of class discussions. In particular students will be encouraged to use the web learn discussion forum on a regular basis.

Learning outcomes

At end of the module  students should be able to:

  1. understand the role of mass communications in the contemporary marketing communications industry
  2. recognise and appreciate the role of mass media communications in contemporary cultures and in social relationships
  3. understanding of  the  basic principles & theoretical approaches and methods adopted in media and the cultural studies
  4. discuss the ways in which the mass media industries shape genres, messages and narratives in order to construct a sense of what the social 'world' is or how it works.
  5. understand and analyse the codes, aesthetics, forms, and conventions of a range of media texts and practices.

Assessment strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to complement the learning teaching strategy and encourage a synthesis between frameworks , theories and models from the module, case study, video, on line  material and students’ personal exploration of  media  industry and media channels . All components call for students to make links between concepts, frame works relating them to an understanding of the media industry and social cultural impacts.

The assessment strategy consists of three components, which aims to assess the module’s learning outcomes.  These assessments require students to demonstrate and apply the knowledge gained during the module.  The components are:
A group presentation weighting 20%  30 minutes
Individual  Essay 30%  2,000 words
Reflective critical portfolio weighting 50% 3,000 words

Group Presentation weighting 20%
The group presentation requires students to work in groups of 3 to analyse the appropriateness of mass media channels, tools in the launch of a promotional campaign. The project requires the group to present a 30 minute analysis of environmental factors affecting the media company & different media tools to consider. A creative story board/concept /mood board /brainstorming maps/video/YouTube/Photoshop can be used to address the idea for the proposed campaign to be used as the basis for a brief to the media company.   Each presentation will last 30 minutes.

Individual Essay 30%
The essay will be an individual analytical essay.  The essay will involve a critical appraisal and discussion of media through the following module content -media content, media effects & Media users. This has been designed to test students' knowledge and critical appraisal and encourage students to consider and relate their knowledge to understanding of  the subject and to develop academic writing. Word count 2,000

Critical Reflective portfolio  50%
Students will be required to attend all lectures and seminars for the duration of the academic year. This point will be reinforced by student writing an incremental reflective learning and professional capability The critical reflective portfolio will require students to collect a portfolio of media artefacts and will be required to be reviewed in seminars at regular 6 week intervals for formative feedback. The aim is for students to assess their critical & interpretation skills and knowledge gained from lectures, seminars and researched material and how they relate to their own insights of theoretical ideas explored in the module. Word count 3,000 words

Constructive alignment of assessment strategy to learning outcomes and skill development

Assessment strategy Learning Outcomes Skill Development
Group presentation including supporting materials 1,2 Researching, analysing data, application of knowledge,
Inter-personal/Inter-cultural communication and oral presentation, self/ time management, working with others,(IPA)
Individual Essay 2,3,4,5 Academic reading,(IPA) researching, analysing (IPA)  application of knowledge and academic writing  (IPA) (IPA)
Critical Reflective portfolio 2,3,4,5 Career management,  Self assessment/reflection, including awareness of and management of emotions,(IPA)Researching, analysing data, application of knowledge( IPA) Academic reading,(IPA)



Core Books

Hodkinson  P. (2011) Media Culture & Society  An Introduction  Sage publications

Severin W. (2014) Communication Theories: Pearson New International Edition: Origins, Methods
Pearson publication (e book)

Vivian J.(2013) Media of Mass Communication: Pearson New International Edition, 11/E  Pearson (e book)
Ott B. & Mack R. (2014) Critical Media Studies: An Introduction, 2nd Edition , Wiley-Blackwell
Davis A. (2013) Promotional Cultures - The Rise and Spread of Advertising, Public Relations, Marketing and Branding Polity Press

Additional reading

Hartley J.  (2012) Communication, Cultural and Media Studies The Key Concepts, 4th Edition Routledge
Storey J. (2012) Cultural Theory and Popular Culture  6th Edition Routledge (e book)
Hackley, C. 2010. Advertising and Promotion, 2nd edn., London: Sage.
Croucher S. (2016) Understanding Communication Theory  A Beginner's Guide Routledge 
Lambe J. (2016)  Media Effects and Society 2nd Edition  Routledge
Danesi, Marcel (2010) ‘Semiotics of media and culture’ in P. Cobley (ed), The Routledge Companion to Semiotics, London: Routledge.

Couldry, Nick (2012) Media, society, world : Social theory and digital media practice Cambridge : Polity Press
Featherstone, M. (2007). Consumer Culture and Postmodernism. 2nd edition. Sage: London.
Gill, R. (2006) Gender and the Media. Cambridge: Polity Press
Giddens, A. (2013). Sociology. 7th edition. Polity Press: Cambridge.
Silverblatt, A. (2007), Genre Studies in Mass media, London: M. E. Sharpe
Hesmondhalgh, D. (2007) The Cultural Industries (2nd Edition). London: Sage
Gripsrud, J. (2002) Understanding Media Culture, London: Arnold.
Jones, A. (2010), The Feminism and Visual Culture Reader, London: Routledge.
Kellner, D. (1995) Media Culture: Cultural Studies, Identity and Politics Between the Modern and the Postmodern, London: Routledge.
Tredinnick, L (2008), Digital Information Culture, Oxford: Chandos Publishing.

The Professional Publishers Association (PPA)
BBC Learning
AMARC (World Association of Community Radio Stations),
Community Media Association,
The Advertising Association –
The Advertising Standards Authority –
The Office of Communications-
The History of Advertising Trust –
Institute of Practitioners in Advertising-
Internet advertising Bureau
Think Box
Cinema Council
Screen digest

Creative Review.
Brand Republic
Media week
PR week

New media and society
Mass communication & society
Journal for communication and culture
International Journal of Advertising
International Journal of communication
Journal of marketing & communication
Journal of Marketing communications
Journal of public Relations Research
Public relations journal
Public relations review